In a federal election last Saturday, Australians elected the Labor Party’s Kevin Rudd to replace the incumbent prime minister, John Howard, who has been in power since 1996. Aussie news outlets are calling it a landmark, landslide victory that will set the nation on a new course. Howard has parroted the Bush administration’s positions on global warming and the Iraq war for the last eight years, and Rudd’s new course calls for hanging a u-turn and peeling off in exactly the opposite direction. Moreover, Rudd already has his foot on the pedal. Amazingly enough, climate was a bigger concern among Aussie voters than war, and Rudd promised that signing the Kyoto Protocol (an international emissions reductions scheme scorned by Bush and Howard) will be one of his first acts in office. Reacting appropriately, the Australian press immediately rounded up a group of experts to comment on the legal barriers to making such an abrupt about-face.

Now why can’t more American journalists put such energy into their energy coverage?

Curtis Brainard is the editor of The Observatory, CJR's online critique of science and environment reporting. Follow him on Twitter @cbrainard.